Ian Ascher

Ask at least 7 questions on any given topic. You will find that most are exhausted after 2 but keep pushing. You will learn more about that component of the business than the perceived expert.


Ian Ascher was born and raised in Monmouth County New Jersey. Following high school, he attended the University of Hartford and graduated with a B.A in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice. Through various internships, he became interested in investigations, which lead him to take on a role within a private investigations firm. Soon after, Ian acknowledged that the Commercial Insurance Industry would be where he could begin building a long career focused on Risk Management. Ian spent many years at Chubb learning the claims side of the business before transferring into Underwriting. Eventually, he was a Senior Underwriting Officer managing the regional book of Energy Risks. Soon after, Ian move to CNA where he was responsible for Large Property Underwriting. During this time, Ian’s desire to move away from the insurance side (sell) and into the Risk Management (buy side) was clear, and he decided to pursue an M.S. in Management of Risk from St. John’s University. While still working at CNA he was presented with a unique opportunity to lead the Risk Management Program for H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh, PA. He took the challenge head on, and in short time, Ian revamped the way in which Heinz valued Risk Management and Insurance through setting incentives, structuring capital return programs on distressed assets and through optimizing the broad insurance portfolio. This allowed Ian to facilitate the risk management platform for the Kraft Heinz Merger in 2015, while using tested practices and strong integration planning to yield favorable results to the firm in both efficiencies and cost savings. Following his experience with Kraft Heinz, Ian is now the Managing Director of Global Risk Management for Jones Lang LaSalle, and he is excited to bring value and create opportunity for the firm through active Risk Management execution.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

Being the number 2 publicly traded commercial real estate firm in the world, JLL was built over may years through organic growth and acquisition. The firm aims to be the best in the industry while serving customers across diverse needs in capital markets, facility/property management and asset management space across a very diverse portfolio of risk and customers.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day is spent with some time with my son in the morning making breakfast and reading books, before heading out to the office. I manage a large team, so ensuring they can be effective is my key priority. We hold weekly meetings to understand what the 30/60/90 priorities are, and collaborate to ensure we aren’t creating redundancies. I have a high volume of internal and external stakeholders to keep happy, so prioritizing my time is critical. A lot of times, we have to say no to things for the benefit of broader goals.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It may sound backwards, but I think the best way to bring life to an idea is to put KPIs around them. This helps me and my team to understand why we are working towards a goal, no matter how large or small. Structuring deliverables has helped push agendas from a discussion to a work plan for me in many situation

What’s one trend that excites you?

Artificial intelligence, and reliance on data. These things are only becoming more relevant and are providing more value across all industries. I am excited for how this can change our working roles in the years to come.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Morning routine sets me up for the day. Quiet time early in the morning is critical for me, meditation, exercise, time with my son all qualify as my routine. Without it, I would not be ready for the day ahead.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You know you’re motivated, you know you’re going to work hard, but you must not carry the weight of the world on your soldiers. Prioritize and trust people on your team.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Education financing will be forced to go through a major overhaul in the coming years to sustain higher level education for today’s youth.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Ask at least 7 questions on any given topic. You will find that most are exhausted after 2 but keep pushing. You will learn more about that component of the business than the perceived expert.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Don’t be scared to take risks and step into roles that you may not on paper be immediately qualified for. Stepping out your comfort zone is uncomfortable, but you put yourself in a position to learn and grow. This can provide a tremendous confidence boost and help give broader perspective to is possible for the future.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I was aggressively pursuing a new account for 6 months, and after all the hard work, we were not successful in winning. I spend a lot of time with the prospect to understand where we went wrong. I was able to take that feedback to my leadership team, and over the course of time we adjusted strategies to be more competitive, while keeping the company bottom line as top priority. This resulted in significant new business the following year as we could work in a more flexible way with our customers. The lesson learned for me was to truly listen.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Someone should create environmentally friendly, cheap and cute disposable baby clothes for newborn through 6 months.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently bought my 3-year-old son a scooter. He has been asking for months, and he stuck to the rules he needed to follow in order to get it. The pure joy I see on his face is worth every penny, while also instilling an important life lesson around patience, commitment and rewards.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Microsoft Excel – Highly efficient and used in my daily tasks – from data aggregation, to modeling, this tool makes my job a lot easier.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

How To Win Friends & Influence People

What is your favorite quote?

“if you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”
– Napoleon Hill

Key Learnings:

• Success isn’t given, its created by vision, developing a plan and holding yourself and those around you to accountable to executing a plan
• Trust your company, and your team – the sum is better than an individual part
• It is critical to allow time for things outside of work to drive and motivate you. These will be different for everyone, but identify them and rely on them.